MARKSVILLE, La. (KALB) - In the past few months, the Avoyelles Parish community has been shaken by recent violent incidents. So on Saturday, a crowd took to the streets of Marksville in the rain; all spreading the message: Stop the Violence.
With a sign in one hand, and an umbrella in the other, Renee Bell was one of those in the march.
"This community really does care about the youth, and the cause," said Bell.
The goal is to teach the youth the dangers of weapon violence, and how to resolve conflict peacefully. It comes after recent violent incidents took the lives of three young men in the community.
"It's sad,” expressed Bell. “Because you have seen them through their adolescent years. And now they can't enjoy adulthood."
Bell said it's personal for. She taught physical education at Bunkie High School. That's where she said she taught Donald Randall, one of the victims.
"D-Ray, they called him,” explained Bell. “It's just sad to see the young men dying by the hands of a gun."
Also among the crowd was the family of Case Dupuy, another one of the victims.
"We want to keep this from happening to anyone else,” said Jesse Chavers. “Man or woman. Domestic violence happens with both genders."
They said the support from the community is a major uplift.
"It’s awesome that our community can get together and raise awareness,” said Chavers. “Not just for domestic violence, but for violence in general."
Following the march, the crowd gathered to see displays of what violent actions can lead to and to listen to different speakers. One of those was District Attorney Charlie Riddle.
"The only way you can help stop violence, is not just talking to the people who commit violence,” explained Riddle. “But by letting the whole community know that everyone is responsible. We can't sit back and say 'oh this is horrible,' and wonder when things are going to change. We have to be active in trying to change things."
Bell hopes this event will make that change in the community.
"You know, you teach these kids,” said Bell. “Then all of a sudden, they don't get to enjoy, they don't get to fulfill what they were destined to do. And it saddens me a lot."